Jun 16, 2015

Posted by in Nutrition | 0 Comments

Are Children Pre-Programmed for Obesity

Research shows that children born from obese mothers are prone to obesity themselves. The research, as presented at the American Diabetes Association 75th Scientific Sessions, found evidence that children – even before they are born – are liable to accumulate extra fat compared to children whose parents are not obese.

The study also found that a child’s cells are more likely to become insulin resistant, thereby leading to a greater propensity toward diabetes. Kristen E. Boyle, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago, cautions that more research needs to be performed in order to establish the long-term effect of this fat cellular accumulation.

Boyle’s team extracted stem cells from donated umbilical cords from both normal-weighted and obese women. Cells taken from obese mothers were found to have 30 percent greater fat content compared to cells from mothers of a normal weight. This data continues to be examined to determine whether this is connected to any metabolic alterations.

The researchers continue to caution the preliminary nature of this research, in the sense that no formal connection has yet been made between the child before birth and the child after birth. They argue that only when this formal link is established can the full extent of today’s research be appreciated.

However, a correlation has been forged between the fat content of these cells and the fat mass of the baby at birth – for which there is a direct correlation. Boyle suggests that future research will focus on the development of these children from birth, examining the separate extent of both genetic and environmental factors.

The debate surrounding the extent of generic and environmental factors is a contentious one, as there is little substantial evidence in support of either model. It appears, judging from the weight of evidence in this research, that the answer lies somewhere in-between, though the degree of influence of both factors needs to be established.

This research has long-term implications, not least because of how it might influence society’s attitude toward diabetes. If type 2 diabetes were linked back to obese mothers, more could be done to inform parents of this outcome, while it might also act as an inducement for action in parents who wish to lose weight prior to starting a family.

Boyle and her research team are also examining the mechanisms by which the cells utilise the fat present. Links may then be forged between the state and nature of the cells and how it impacts on the child after it has been born. The research also sheds light on the need to appreciate the extent of obesity at the level of the cell as opposed to purely on environmental grounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *